"You are a fascinating bastard."
- Blair Brown (Emily), "Altered States"
"Altered States" is an incredible love story. If you're a stupendous nerd enamored of well-turned science-babble and tacky 1980-era (vector-graphics meet Nova meet stop-motion) special effects, that is. And, the debut of William Hurt, creating the first of a string of pale, strong-jawed performances before stoicism and restraint were discovered simply to be Limited Range.
But what a fine looking mad scientist he is. Y'all know I can't resist an irresistable, self-centered whacko, especially one so damn rangy. So pale his rangy naked body (and yes, he is often naked, poor exploited Bill Hurt) glows slightly blue in the darkness. (He spends most of the movie flanked by a couple of shaggy Jews. Guess who's the Jews, youse! Answer at the end of this work of literary art.)
And (spoilers, my Netflixy friends...) Blair Brown, no slouch herself in the brains and pallor department here, sticks with him. Brings him back from the ultimate void. No mere affair, no simple dalliance. The fucking depths of multidimensional space, the beginnings of time, creation, G-d and the universe itself...the terrible, terrible void...
Damn. I love a happy ending. A happy, naked, glowy, ending. And vintage-1980 lasers and mitotic cell slides. The rising-string soundtrack, however, can take a walk.
Who's the Jews? Bob "Great in Everything" Balaban and Charles "Maybe Not a Jew but Looks Like a Damn Hippie aka Renko in Hill Street and Merv Griffin's Cousin" Haid.
Trivia Bonus! Who else makes their movie debut? A very tiny Drew Barrymore!